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Brace for fuel price hikes, petrol station owners warn

Petrol stations are warning that prices are set for a new increase of up to 10-15 cents per litre in the coming weeks because of the crisis in Ukraine.

“About a month and a half ago it went down to about $70 per barrel but once the reports of a potential Russian invasion began circulating it rose to $90 and then $100 and it’s still on the rise, with no indication of where the limit may be or how long it could last,” president of the petrol station owners association Savvas Prokopiou told the Cyprus Mail.

Asked about reports that petrol could increase by 10-15 cents by the end of this week, Prokopiou told us that the rise will be more gradual than that – based on deliveries, which occur every three to six days – but that within 25 days a 15 cents rise appears inevitable.

“Already from today some stations have raised their prices,” he said.

On Monday, UK petrol and diesel prices exceeded the “grim milestone” of 150p a litre for the first time, with further rises expected.

The growing international isolation of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine has led to a dramatic price hike.

Russia is both the world’s second-largest exporter of crude oil and refined petrol, and the largest exporter of natural gas, mostly via pipelines to western Europe. The EU and its allies have said they want to put maximum pressure on Russia, but not set off an energy crisis that hurts their own people and plunges the world economy into recession.

Prokopiou told us that the petrol stations follow the wholesale prices which depend on global factors.

“Unfortunately, as a state there’s not much that we can do about these increases, and it impacts everyone across the sectors, from households to most workers commuting to their offices,” he said.

Household budgets are being further strained as people dig deeper into their pockets for basic goods, dealing with soaring electricity prices and rising inflation.

As was the case globally, the rate of inflation in Cyprus measured by increases in consumer and producer prices rose steeply during 2021. The increase in consumer prices in Cyprus in the 12 months to December 2021 reached 4.8 per cent. But more strikingly, reflecting the impact of soaring raw material and energy prices as well as higher freight costs, the industrial producer price index for Cyprus climbed by 21.8 per cent over the year to November 2021.

Elsewhere, spokesman of the petrol station owners’ association Christodoulos Christodoulou expressed his dismay at what he said are three to four kilometre queues on a daily basis of people lining up to fill up their tanks in the north.

He told the Cyprus Times that the association may proceed with strikes if action is not taken, with a meeting set to take place on Wednesday.

But some who have never crossed to the north previously have said that they are now “forced” to do so as they cannot keep up with rising prices.

Asked about the growing number of people going to the north to get petrol Prokopiou told us that the government must act.

“We’re not only worried but disappointed, last November we had a meeting with the customs department and were told that action would be taken, that checks would be intensified but that didn’t happen,” he said.

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